Vietnam is a country with beautiful landscapes, vibrant cities, and friendly people. One of the best ways to explore this Southeast Asian nation is by motorbike. But before you jump on a bike and hit the open road, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations of driving in Vietnam. In this blog post, we’ll take a comprehensive look at what you need to know about driving a motorbike in Vietnam, whether you choose to rent or buy.
Traffic rules and laws of Vietnam
Traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic and overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. However, there are some basic rules and laws that you should be aware of to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- You must have a valid international driver’s license to drive a motorbike in Vietnam legally.
- Wearing a helmet is mandatory, both for the driver and any passengers. It’s also a good idea to wear protective clothing, like long pants and closed-toe shoes.
- Keep to the right side of the road. The left lane is reserved for larger vehicles like buses and trucks.
- Honking your horn is common practice in Vietnam, but try to use it sparingly and only when necessary.
- Be extra cautious at intersections, as many drivers and motorbike riders may run red lights.
- Avoid driving at night if possible, as roads are often poorly lit and there may be more hazards on the road.
Do it or not?
Driving a motorbike in Vietnam can be an amazing experience, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re not comfortable navigating through hectic traffic or don’t have any experience riding a motorbike, it may be best to explore other transportation options. Additionally, if you have any medical conditions that could make riding a motorbike unsafe, it’s important to consider those factors as well.
Rent or buy a motorbike?
Deciding whether to rent or buy a motorbike in Vietnam depends on your travel plans and budget. If you’re only planning on staying in Vietnam for a short time, renting is likely the best option. However, if you plan on staying longer and exploring more of the country, buying a motorbike may be more cost-effective.
What are the costs?
Renting a motorbike in Vietnam can cost anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the type of bike and your negotiating skills. However, keep in mind that many rental companies require a deposit, which can range from $50-$200. If you decide to buy a motorbike, prices can range from $200-$2,000, depending on the make and model. It’s also important to factor in the cost of maintenance and repairs, as well as fuel.
Where can you rent and buy a motorbike?
There are numerous places to rent and buy motorbikes in Vietnam, especially in larger cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Some popular rental companies include Tigit Motorbikes, Rent A Bike Vietnam, and Flamingo Travel. When it comes to buying a motorbike, many locals and expats recommend purchasing from other travelers or expats leaving the country. Facebook groups like “Vietnam Backpacker Motorbike Sales” can be a good resource for finding private sellers.
How do I sell my motorbike?
If you decide to buy a motorbike in Vietnam, there may come a time when you need to sell it. There are a few ways to go about this:
- Sell to another traveler or expat: As previously mentioned, Facebook groups can be a good place to find potential buyers.
- Sell to a dealer: Many motorbike dealerships will buy used bikes, but keep in mind that you may not get top dollar for your bike this way.
- Sell to a local: While it may be more difficult to find a local buyer, you may be able to get a higher price for your bike this way.
Whether you decide to rent or buy a motorbike in Vietnam, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Make sure you have a valid international driver’s license.
- Always wear a helmet and protective clothing.
- Inspect the bike thoroughly before renting/buying.
- Check that all lights and signals are working properly.
- Get familiar with the bike before hitting the road.
- Carry a map or GPS, as well as a phone with a local SIM card.
What kind of motorbike can you buy or rent in Vietnam?
There are a variety of different motorbikes available for rent or purchase in Vietnam, each with their own pros and cons. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Honda Win: This classic backpacker bike is lightweight and easy to handle. However, it may not be the most reliable option and may require frequent repairs.
- Honda Wave/Scooter: These smaller bikes are great for city riding and have good fuel efficiency. However, they may not be as comfortable for long-distance rides.
- Yamaha Exciter: This sporty bike is popular among locals and expats alike. It has good power and acceleration, but may not be the best option for beginners.
- Honda XR: This dirt bike is a good choice for off-road adventures, but may not be the most comfortable option for long rides on paved roads.
Ultimately, the type of motorbike you choose will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans.
Best motorbike routes in Vietnam
Vietnam has some of the most beautiful landscapes in Southeast Asia, and exploring them by motorbike can be an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the best motorbike routes in Vietnam:
- Ha Giang Loop: This 4-5 day loop through the mountains of northern Vietnam offers stunning views and challenging terrain.
- Ho Chi Minh Road: Stretching from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, this 2,000 km route takes riders through vibrant cities, historic sites, and breathtaking scenery.
- Hai Van Pass: Made famous by the TV show Top Gear, this scenic route offers stunning views of the coast and surrounding mountains.
- Da Lat to Nha Trang: This coastal route takes riders through lush countryside, charming villages, and picturesque beaches.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, there are some general tips that can help make your motorbike journey in Vietnam safer and more enjoyable:
- Stay alert and vigilant at all times
- Avoid riding at night when possible
- Always wear protective gear, including a helmet and sturdy shoes
- Keep to the right side of the road
- Be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions, especially during the rainy season
- Carry plenty of water and snacks, especially on longer rides
- Get familiar with the rules of the road and local traffic patterns
- Don’t be afraid to ask locals for advice or tips on the best routes and sights to see
Driving a motorbike in Vietnam can be an amazing way to explore this beautiful country, but it’s important to understand the rules and regulations, as well as your own comfort level and budget. Whether you choose to rent or buy, make sure you do your research and take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience exploring Vietnam by motorbike.